letter on my journey from home to England.

Pocahontas’ Letter

Hello, my dear friend.

I am writing to you to share what I have learned since my journey from home to England. The Western culture is endorsed with many popular legends and myths of exceptional “heroes.” More often than not, these “folk heroes” have been represented as “extraordinary” individuals who were able to achieve the impossible. With years of retelling these tales, the stories begin to lose their accuracy and authenticity. In any case, I have come to realize that many of these retellings have one major commonality, and it is that of the exaltation of the “whites” who have a strong linkage to Europeans like the British. I have witnessed many debates where scholars have argued that this “misrepresentation” of popular folklores is purposeful with the aim of elevating the perception and “supremacy” of the West.

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An example of a factually distorted story is that of my mythologized identity as Pocahontas[1]. I am proud to be part of the Algonquian Indian tribe, and I love my people,but the Brits have distorted my image to that of a deserter, which is not true. Over the period I have been in England, the story of Pocahontas, my story, has been a source of controversy[2]. They have represented me as a naïve and love-stricken little girl. This image of a gullible and naïve girl is what has been passed down to the masses and taken as factual events of the decisions that led me to England. I vehemently refute this reduced image of me as a naïve little girl who deserted her people in their hour of need. I am the opposite of how I am portrayed by the settlers and the Virginia Company[3]. What you might not know is that my decision to get married to John was not a self-centered one, and I did it for you and all my people back home. You can be assured that I have not forsaken you or the plight my people are going through as I am completely aware of everything happening around me.

The British are calling the invasion of our lands as the new frontier whose aim is to settle in our lands. This is a project that many of the Brits are passionate about, and they have been calling our ancestral land the “new world.” The bulk of my story happened between 1606 and 1617, and it is rather a short one[4]. Within this period, I would “fall in love” and get married to a British company man, John Smith, travel overseas as a wife; and have a son without ever returning home.

My life in England has not been without its challenges being an Indian woman in an alien society. I am paraded continuously as the Algonquian Princes, however, not to honor me, but to for the Brits to show that they are making headway in converting a “savage” people. I should have suspected this outcome when John Smith met me for the first time; I am just a child[5]. However, John was deceitful when he describedme as a “maiden of marriageable age.” This is one of the factual inaccuracies in my story, as many have come to accept blindly. I and largely the Algonquian tribe and other Indian tribes have often been represented as “savages;” people incapable of civil discourse. But, my marriage to John Smith was a tactical diplomatic strategy well understood by the Powhatan, my father, and the Algonquian people, and it was not just a “tale of romance.” I am well aware of their inferiority in regards to the weaponry they possess compared to those of my people[6]. Our tribe is under no illusions that the British intend to usurp our lands, and at the same time, we recognized that we could not match them in battle. It is for this reason that Powhatan and the Algonquian people saw my marriage to John as a strategic maneuver that would “dissuade” the British from launching an all-out attack.

My role in the tale is much greater than that of a love story as she was her father’s emissary to the Virginia Company. I could speak English, which made me a valuable resource for my people when negotiating with the British. Powhatan knew of the British’s compulsion to acquire the Indian Territory, and that they would be successful if outcomes were to be decided by the use of brute force. This is why Powhatan endorsed my marriage as a ploy to buy more time to come up with a permanent and amicable solution for our people. Although the colonizers deemed themselves superior to us, they are very careful in their strategies not to reveal how their weapons work to the Indians[7]. They feared that once the Indians fully comprehended the power of the guns, the Indians would steal and use them against the British. This disqualifies the mainstream notion that the Indians were “savages” incapable of conjuring a viable and tactically-sound offense[8].

I am writing to you to inform you that I will not be able to come back home. It is not because I lack the desire to, but because I am gravely ill. Already, I was on a ship with my husband back to Virginia, but my condition has worsened, and we had to make a stop at Gravesend, England. The doctors reckon I am in no condition to travel and fear the worst. I hope to get well soon and come back home to see you and my people.


















Works Cited

Townsend, Camilla, 1965-. Pocahontas And The Powhatan Dilemma: An American Portrait. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004.



[1]Townsend, Camilla, 1965-. Pocahontas And The Powhatan Dilemma: An American Portrait. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

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